'Fargo' Will Feature Infamous Sioux Falls Massacre

by Caitlin Flynn

Season 2 of Fargo is off to a strong start, and this anthology series shakes up the trendy new genre's formula by having each season take place in the same universe. This season, we've time traveled from 2006 back to 1970s — the decade of the Sioux Falls Massacre. In Season 1, Lou Solverson (Keith Carradine) referenced the crime and described it as the reason he left his job on the police force. Patrick Wilson has now taken over the role of Lou and this infamous crime will be crucial to the Season 2 plot. Although artistic license will be taken, the event is all too real — so, before Fargo depicts its version of Sioux Falls Massacre, let's talk about what happened in real life.

The massacre occurred in 1973, and it was just as disturbing as it sounds. According to The Des Moines Register, three brothers impersonated police officers and targeted a group of teens who were hanging out and smoking a joint in the woods on the Iowa-South Dakota border. By the end of the night, they had murdered four and kidnapped and raped the fifth. The sole survivor — who was just 13 years old at the time — was instrumental in bringing the killers to justice and having them convicted of their heinous crime. Here's everything you need to know about the Sioux Falls Massacre:

What Happened Nov. 17, 1973:

On a Saturday evening, five teenagers headed to the Gitchie Manitou State Preserve with a guitar and several joints and made a campfire. Shortly after arriving in the woods, they were accosted by brothers Allen, James, and David Fryer, as reported by The Des Moines Register. The Fryers impersonated police officers and shot the four male teens, who ranged in age from 14 to 18. All four died in the woods from their injuries. The fifth, Sandra Cheskey, was kidnapped, taken to a farmhouse, and later claimed she was sexually assaulted by James Fryer. She told The Register that afterwards, Allen Fryer told his brothers he would kill her — but he drove her home instead.

“I was a virgin, you know,” Cheskey told the newspaper of Allen Fryer. “Nah, no you aren’t,” she remembered him saying. “I told him, ‘I’m only 13.’ And that really shocked him, and he would just tell me then, ‘I’ll do what I can to get you out of this.’ ”

As for the rest of the victims, the bodies of her four friends were discovered the next morning by a couple test-driving a car.

Arrest & Prosecution Of The Fryer Brothers

For the next two weeks, Cheskey worked with law enforcement agents in an effort to identify the perpetrators. They drove her all over town and she eventually recognized the farmhouse where she had been held. In a bizarre coincidence, Allen Fryer happened to drive by while Cheskey was at the house with investigators. She recognized his truck from the night of the attack, and he was arrested immediately. His brothers were also apprehended, and the three were charged with murder. Cheskey testified at their trials, and all of them were convicted of the four murders and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Where Is Sandra Cheskey Today?

In 2013, Cheskey broke her silence in an interview with The Des Moines Register. She described the trauma of the event itself, and how she was ostracized by classmates and neighbors who judged her for being out at night with older boys — some even speculated that she'd be an accomplice to the murders. Today, she is married with children and grandchildren and told the newspaper that she's considering writing a book. Cheskey explained that she chose to speak out 40 years later because it's important to remind the public that she and her four friends were purely victims on that awful night.

Images: Chris Large (2), Mathias Clamer/FX; Wikimedia Commons